Flexi Says: Enzymes are involved in most of the biochemical reactions that take place in organisms. About 4,000 such reactions are known to be catalyzed by enzymes, but the number may be even higher. Enzymes allow reactions to occur at the rate necessary for life. Enzymes catalyze both synthesis and degradation of molecules. Polymerase enzymes speed up the replication of DNA or RNA. Digestive enzymes speed up reactions that break down large molecules of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into smaller molecules the body can use.